Astrocolor Look to the Past While Pushing Their Sound Forward on 'Hue"

Astrocolor Look to the Past While Pushing Their Sound Forward on 'Hue'
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Victoria, BC's Astrocolor hone the niche art of melding '60s lounge music, Balearic beat and electronica in an alchemy that, on paper, shouldn't theoretically gel — yet they pull it off with prowess and panache on Hue. The five-piece's latest LP follows a string of EPs and the festive-themed Lit Up in flaunting the genre-fluidity that has come to define their sonic ethos; splicing shades of Justice with Bacharach haze in a balancing act between the florid and subtly eclectic.

Hue sticks to familiar territory, in some sense, building upon the sturdy template of previous work, shifting between funk-fused hooks and iridescent dance beats in quick-fire fashion. Leader Neil Cooke-Dallin simultaneously invests technical versatility, as both producer and mixer, into assembling a state of organized flux — a formula that earned the band a nomination for Electronic Artist of the Year at the 2018 Western Canadian Music Awards.

Instrumental tracks and those featuring guest vocalists, such as Adrian Chalifour and Fox Glove, alternate throughout. Opener "Laughter" has a sleek elasticity, aligning soul-leaning textures with deft sax twists, anchored by nimble sampling of Stax Records singer Wendy Rene. Elsewhere, gilded guitar licks grace the glitter ball dynamics of "Dance," while "Yacht" basks in breezy oceanic ambience – standouts that find the outfit in progressively tighter control.

Adopting a fresh scope of stylistic tilts on this full-length outing, Astrocolor revitalize the elements that came into play on earlier releases, embracing a more sharply defined identity while reasserting the strengths of the tried and tested. Although this can occasionally veer into a holding pattern, Hue presents a confident example of the band proving ever more polished and cohesive in their craft. (Softtone/eOne)